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It is a wage incentive plan that offers employers up to £2,275 for employing young disabled people through Work Choice. It will be available from July 2012.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/employment-news-for-young-disabled-people/What can you do if your child is being bullied? As part of Anti-Bullying week we asked Jill Davies our special educational needs (SEN) parent adviser to explain what you can do if you think your child is being bullied.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/what-can-you-do-if-your-child-is-being-bullied/Three quarters of families with disabled children feel so isolated that it has caused anxiety, depression and breakdownOur new report, ‘Forgotten Families’ shows social, emotional and financial isolation causes almost three quarters (72%) of families with disabled children to experience poor mental health such as anxiety, depression or breakdown. Almost half (49%) reported feeling so unwell- they have asked their GP for medication or to see a counsellor.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/three-quarters-of-families-with-disabled-children-feel-so-isolated-that-it-has-caused-anxiety-depression-and-breakdown/Are you making a primary school application?If your child is due to start school in September 2013, you'll be applying for a school now. 15 January is the deadline for you to send in your admission form. If your child has a statement, you won't need to fill in this form as there is a different procedure. However, you should still fill in the form even if you are hoping your child may get a statement or if they are going through the process of statutory assessment to decide if they need one.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/are-you-making-a-primary-school-application/Going for gold for Contact a FamilyAfter the success of our Olympic Big Day Out a small team of Contact a Family staff members have begun their Gold Challenge to raise funds for families with disabled children. Our Goldstars team have challenged themselves to raise over £1000 by competing in five Olympic and Paralympic sports challenges before the end of the year.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/going-for-gold-for-contact-a-family/ Disabled children illegally excluded from school every weekDisabled children are routinely illegally excluded from school with a devastating impact on their education and mental health, according to new research from Contact a Family.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/disabled-children-illegally-excluded-from-school-every-week/Has your child been referred to a genetics centre? Do you have questions about your child's genetics appointment? If it's suspected that your child has a genetic condition or they are undiagnosed and it's believed there is a genetic basis for their difficulties, you may be referred to a genetics centre. We've teamed up with a Guys hospital consultant to answer common questions from parents.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/has-your-child-been-referred-to-a-genetics-centre/Advice on applying for your child's secondary school in EnglandAre you applying for secondary schools for your son or daughter? Or are you thinking about it for next year? We asked Jill Davies our SEN expert, for some tips which may help you. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/advice-on-applying-for-your-childs-secondary-school/Consultation on ‘children in need’ across England and WalesThe government in England has launched a consultation on revised statutory guidance for safeguarding. The three documents for consultation replace the current statutory guidance. This includes Managing individual cases: the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families which proposes replacing nationally prescribed timescales for assessments with local frameworks. The consultation closes on 4 September 2012.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/consultation-on-children-in-need-across-england-and-wales/Panorama: Contact a Family response Contact a Family is sure that everyone will be worried that 19 out of the 51 patients moved from Winterbourne View care home have then been the subject of ‘safeguarding alerts’, as reported in last night’s BBC Panorama programme. It will be particularly frightening for parents, already anxious about what happens to their disabled child when they move into adult services. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/panorama-contact-a-family-response/Bedroom tax High Court challenge starts todayA family begin their challenge to the bedroom tax at the High Court today. If successful, it could mean that bedroom tax rules are changed so that families with a disabled child who need an extra room for an overnight carer are exempt.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/bedroom-tax-high-court-challenge-starts-today/Join a Contact a Family eventOne way we support families with disabled children is through our extensive events programme.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/join-a-contact-a-family-event/Don't forget to claim Cold Weather PaymentsIf you have a disabled child or child under five living with you and you get either Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit you’re eligible for Cold Weather Payments.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/dont-forget-to-claim-cold-weather-payments/New resource to help you challenge short break cutsEvery Disabled Child Matters (EDCM), a campaign group of which Contact a Family is a member, this week published a resource to help parent carers challenge cuts to short break services.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/new-resource-to-help-you-challenge-short-break-cuts/New handbook for parent carer forumsContact a Family has published a new parent carer forum handbook with information on all aspects of running a parent carer forum.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/new-handbook-for-parent-carer-forums/Don't miss out on life-changing DLA helpAs part of our Counting the Costs campaign, Contact a Family wants to make sure families aren’t missing out on millions of pounds of extra income because they don’t claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA).http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/dont-miss-out-on-life-changing-dla-help/Busting myths about Disability Living Allowance eligibilityToday we’re going to bust some of the myths surrounding DLA. Our Counting the Costs campaign has found that it is not a lack of awareness preventing families claiming DLA when they should be. Instead, there is a lot of confusion about who is entitled.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/busting-myths-about-disability-living-allowance-eligibility/Care Act 2014 comes into force in England todayToday, 1 April 2015, the Care Act 2014 comes into force. This new law affects disabled young people in transition, disabled adults and their carers.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/care-act-2014-comes-into-force-in-england-today/"Life's a journey, not a destination" - a parent's story about her son's rare conditionOur Connected Spring 2015 magazine is now available to download or order, and to give you sneak peak we’re sharing a story from the latest edition.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/lifes-a-journey-not-a-destination-a-parents-story-about-her-sons-rare-condition/Listen to our DLA myth-busting podcastTo accompany our recent DLA myth-busting news story, our benefits expert Derek Sinclair has made a podcast about some of the misconceptions that are preventing parents from claiming DLA.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/listen-to-our-dla-myth-busting-podcast/Disability Living Allowance and other benefitsDisability Living Allowance (DLA) helps cover the extra costs that result from having a disability and is the main benefit for disabled children. However, getting DLA can also lead to an increase in other benefits or help you qualify for other entitlements.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/disability-living-allowance-and-other-benefits/There's no shame claiming the financial support your child is entitled toIf you’ve already seen our Love DLA infographic, you’ll know that of 481 surveyed parents not claiming DLA, 18% said they felt uneasy claiming benefits for their child.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/theres-no-shame-claiming-the-financial-support-your-child-is-entitled-to/Find a support group near you with our interactive mapToday, 24 April 2015, is Undiagnosed Children’s Day, a nationwide event to increase awareness of undiagnosed genetic conditions. It is estimated that 6,000 disabled children are born each year with a general condition that will not be diagnosed.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/find-a-support-group-near-you-with-our-interactive-map/Extra tax credit payments if you're claiming DLAEvery year the Contact a Family helpline talks to a number of parents who are missing out on at least £60 per week because they haven’t told the tax credits office that their child is getting Disability Living Allowance. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/extra-tax-credit-payments-if-youre-claiming-dla/Incredible victory for Mathieson family in Supreme Court battleThe Mathieson family have made history by winning their landmark Supreme Court case against government rules that take away Disability Living Allowance (DLA) from disabled children if they spend long periods in hospital.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/victory-for-mathieson-family-in-supreme-court-battle-against-unfair-disability-benefit-rule/Craig Mathieson's statement on the DLA Takeaway rulingOn Wednesday the Mathieson family made history as the Supreme Court upheld their challenge to the rules that stopped their son Cameron's benefit payments when he was in hospital for more than 84 days.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/craig-mathiesons-statement-on-the-dla-takeaway-ruling/Families head to parliament to share their experiences of caring for a disabled childFamilies with disabled children from all over the UK and MPs will be celebrating family life with a disabled child at our Meet my Family event this evening, 14 July.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/families-head-to-parliament-to-share-their-experiences-of-caring-for-a-disabled-child/A parent's thank you for our Disability Living Allowance campaignThis week we received a lovely letter from a parent who benefitted from our Love DLA (Disability Living Allowance) month in March.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/a-parents-thank-you-for-our-disability-living-allowance-campaign/Help getting your child's DLA payments reinstated in hospitalIn the recent Mathieson case, the Supreme Court found that rules suspending payment of DLA after 84 days in hospital breached the human rights of a severely disabled child. If you are affected by these rules you should contact the DLA Unit and ask them to review their decision to suspend your child’s payments.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/help-getting-your-childs-dla-payments-reinstated-in-hospital/Our education adviser shares tips for starting schoolOver the next few weeks, we'll be sharing a education-themed series of articles to help you and your child prepare for the new school year. In this article, our education adviser Jill Davies sharees her top tips for starting school - whether a new one or for the first time.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/our-education-adviser-shares-tips-for-starting-school/Resources to help you as the kids go back to schoolFor many of us the children will be back at school now. At this time of year when costs are high with new school uniforms, bags and stationery, check out our guide to Money Matters - England, Scotland and Wales) which details all the help you’re entitled to if your child’s at school. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/resources-to-help-you-as-the-kids-go-back-to-school/Swimming and running for families with disabled childrenThis week, we have some fantastic fundraisers taking part in two different events to help Contact a Family continue supporting families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/swimming-and-running-for-families-with-disabled-children/Levelling the playing field: calling for a SEND-friendly Childcare BillTo coincide with the second reading of the Childcare Bill in the House of Commons next month, we'll be releasing a report detailing the challenges faced by families with disabled children in their efforts to access the current free childcare offer. We'll also be giving you the chance to contact your MP, asking them to speak out in the debate for families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/levelling-the-playing-field-calling-for-a-send-friendly-childcare-bill/A story for Father's Day: "William is just like everybody else"To celebrate Father's Day, we're sharing a story from our last issue of Connected magazine from dad Colin. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/a-story-for-fathers-day-william-is-just-like-everybody-else/A dad's story from Connected: "Don't be frightened to talk" Our Connected Autumn 2015 magazine [PDF] is now available to download or order, and to give you sneak peek we're sharing a story from the latest edition.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/a-dads-story-from-connected-dont-be-frightened-to-talk/The Warm Home Discount Scheme might get you £140 off your billsYou might be eligible for up to £140 off your bills this winter through the government and energy suppliers' Warm Home Discount Scheme. Make sure you hurry because the scheme is offered on a first-come-first-serve basis. The scheme applies in England, Scotland and Wales only. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/the-warm-home-discount-scheme-might-get-you-140-off-your-bills/Case studies and bulletins for improving short breaks servicesOur parent carer participation team has published a series of case studies and a bulletin for parent carers and parent carer forums working to improve short break services in their area.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/case-studies-and-bulletins-for-improving-short-breaks-services/High Court rules that the household benefit cap discriminates against disabled peopleYesterday the High Court ruled that the household benefit cap discriminates against disabled people by failing to exempt their full time carers from the cap. The Court found that the failure to exempt those on carer’s allowance looking after a disabled adult amounted to unlawful discrimination.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/high-court-rules-that-the-household-benefit-cap-discriminates-against-disabled-people/Do you know about discretionary housing payments (DHPs)?Last week the Rutherford family won their Court of Appeal bedroom tax challenge. The court agreed that the bedroom tax discriminates against disabled children who need overnight care.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/do-you-know-about-discretionary-housing-payments-(dhps)/New e-learning tool for families of disabled childrenA partnership project between professionals and parents has resulted in a new e-learning tool for families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/new-e-learning-tool-for-families-of-disabled-children/How will the new DLA hospital rules affect families?Yesterday we announced that the government has scrapped the rules that previously stopped payment of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) when a child under 18 is in hospital. In this article we look at how the new rules might affect parents in varying circumstances.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/how-will-the-new-dla-hospital-rules-affect-families/DLA hospital rules change in Northern IrelandLast week we reported that the government has scrapped the rules that previously stopped payment of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) when a child under 18 is in hospital. While this became law in England, Scotland and Wales last week, the new rules become law in Northern Ireland today, Wednesday 6 July. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/dla-hospital-rules-change-in-northern-ireland/Don’t forget to renew your tax credits by Sunday 31 July The deadline for renewing tax credit claims is fast approaching. Read this article to find out what you need to do to make sure you continue to receive the financial support you're entitled to.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/dont-forget-to-renew-your-tax-credits-by-sunday-31-july/Disabled boy is refused school transport - our adviceAn 11-year old boy with a rare form of dwarfism has been denied transport to school by his local council.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/disabled-boy-is-refused-school-transport-our-advice/New Carer’s Allowance digital service launched in Northern IrelandThe Northern Ireland government has launched a digital service allowing carers across Northern Ireland to claim Carer's Allowance, or report a change in their circumstances, using an online service.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/new-carers-allowance-digital-service-launched-in-northern-ireland/Campaign win on early years funding in England The Department for Education (DfE) is seeking views on changes to how the government funds free childcare and early education for three and four year olds in England. The proposals include extra funding for some disabled children. This is something that Contact a Family and thousands of parent carers have long been campaigning for.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/campaign-win-on-early-years-funding-in-england/Good luck to our amazing father and son cyclist duoThis weekend, two brave Contact a Family supporters set off on a cycling expedition from Land's End to John O'Groates to raise money to support our vital work.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/good-luck-to-our-amazing-father-and-son-cyclist-duo/Share your views on the Personal Independence Payment processThe government has agreed to an independent review looking into the disability payment called Personal Independence Payment (PIP). They want to hear from you.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/share-your-views-on-the-personal-independence-payment-process/Resources to help you as the kids prepare to go back to schoolFor many of us the children will be either back at school, or we will be planning for the new term. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/resources-to-help-you-as-the-kids-prepare-to-go-back-to-school/Learning disability campaigner Lord Rix dies aged 92This weekend the leading campaigner for people with learning disabilities Brian Rix died aged 92.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/learning-disability-campaigner-lord-rix-dies-aged-92/Contact a Family chief executive up for leading sector awardWe’re delighted to announce that our chief executive Amanda Batten has been nominated for a prestigious sector award. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-a-family-chief-executive-up-for-leading-sector-award/Is your 16-19 old staying in education? Don't miss out on tax creditsIf you have a 16-19 who’ll be staying in non-advanced education after the summer holidays, remember to let the Tax Credit Office know or you could lose out on tax credit payments. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/is-your-16-19-old-staying-in-education-dont-miss-out-on-tax-credits-(1)/Award given to Contact a Family’s Ealing office for longstanding and dedicated service Congratulations to our Ealing office who recently received an award recognising the team's hard work and dedication to helping families with disabled children in their area.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/award-given-to-contact-a-familys-ealing-office-for-longstanding-and-dedicated-service/Congratulations to our superstar cyclists Chris and Pete HutchinsonA huge congratulations to our two amazing supporters Chris and Pete Hutchinson who completed their journey from Land's End to John O'Groats this weekend.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/congratulations-to-our-superstar-cyclists-chris-and-pete-hutchinson/Contact a Family Wales publishes report on cinema provisionOur team in Wales has published a report calling for cinemas to form partnerships with parent support groups and charities to improve cinema access for families of disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-a-family-wales-publishes-report-on-cinema-provision/Two years on from the special educational needs (SEN) reformsToday marks two years since the implementation of the Children and Families Act 2014: the law which introduced major changes to the way children and young people with special educational needs are supported in education in England.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/two-years-on-from-the-special-educational-needs-(sen)-reforms/Top tips for starting schoolIn this article, our education adviser Jill Davies shares her top tips for starting school - whether a new one or for the first time.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/top-tips-for-starting-school/Super cyclist Stephen takes on epic challenge for Contact a FamilyOur wonderful supporter Stephen Kingdom - a die hard Crystal Palace FC fan and passionate cyclist - has taken on a huge challenge to raise money to help us support families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/supporter-combines-football-and-pedal-power-for-contact-a-family/Join one of our exciting events in OctoberNext month is the month for all adventurous runners out there. We have a really exciting range of events taking place and we would love to have you on board our team! http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/join-one-of-our-exciting-events-in-october/New ministers - who's who?The English Parliament came back from summer break this week. Since Brexit and the change of prime minister, there have been new ministers appointed to lead areas relating to families with disabled children. In this article we summarise some of the names you might come across.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/new-ministers-whos-who/Good luck to our Thames Path ChallengersTomorrow our brave team of 19 Thames Path Challengers will be taking off from Bishop's Park in Putney to complete various distances and to make a huge difference to families with disabled children in the UK!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/good-luck-to-our-thames-path-challengers!/Super cyclist congratulated by Middlesbrough Football Club for herculean fundraising effortsFormidable fundraiser Stephen Kingdom was presented with a signed football shirt by Middlesbrough Football Club this weekend after cycling a whopping 301 miles to the ground to raise money for families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/super-cyclist-congratulated-by-middlesbrough-football-club-for-herculean-fundraising-efforts/Congratulations to our amazing Thames Path Challenge TeamOur intrepid team of walkers (and one Ulta Marathon runner) completed the Thames Path Challenge last weekend and we couldn’t be more proud of all their fantastic efforts!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/congratulations-to-our-amazing-thames-path-challenge-team/Team GB's golden cycling duo back Cycling the Season fundraiserOlympic medal-winners Laura Trott and Jason Kenny have sent their good wishes to diehard Crystal Palace FC fan Stephen Kingdom, who is cycling to every single home and away game this season to raise money for Contact a Familyhttp://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/team-gbs-golden-cycling-duo-back-cycling-the-season-fundraiser/Nominate your unsung heroes in the first ever Contact a Family AwardsThis autumn we want your nominations for our first ever Contact a Family Awards to help us shout about and celebrate the countless things UK families do when caring for a disabled child. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/nominate-your-unsung-heroes-in-the-first-ever-contact-a-family-awards/Claim Disability Living Allowance to beat the benefit capOver the next ten days the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will write to all those families who are going to be affected by changes to the household benefit cap in November. These letters will be sent out between 19 and 29 September. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/claim-disability-living-allowance-to-beat-the-benefit-cap/Contact a Family chief executive talks school transport on 5 liveContact a Family Chief Executive Amanda Batten appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live today to talk about home to school transport and the challenges facing families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-a-family-chief-executive-talks-school-transport-on-5-live/Cycling superstar Stephen Kingdom breaks 1,000 mile barrier Our fundraising champion Stephen Kingdom passed the 1,000 mile barrier this week in his season-long challenge to cycle to every home and away game of his beloved Crystal Palace football club.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/our-cycling-superstar-breaks-4000-barrier-1000-miles-in/Contact a Family policy head supports launch of Premier League disability programmeThis morning our Head of Policy & Public Affairs Una Summerson supported the launch of a BT and Premier League initiative that aims to inspire disabled people through sport.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-a-family-policy-head-supports-launch-of-premier-league-disability-programme/Nominate a super sibling in the Contact a Family awardsThis autumn we want your nominations for our first ever Contact a Family Awards to help us shout about and celebrate the countless things UK families do when caring for a disabled child. Shine a well-deserved spotlight on families with disabled children by nominating friends, family members or yourself in one or more of the six Contact a Family Award categories by 31st October.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/nominate-a-super-sibling-in-the-contact-a-family-awards/Cycling the Season challenge reaches Liverpool Cycling wonder Stephen Kingdom has been at it again, pedalling hundreds of miles to watch football and raise money for Contact a Family.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/cycling-the-season-challenge-reaches-liverpool/Government to scrap ESA reassessments for those with lifelong severe conditionsWork and Pensions Secretary Damian Green has now announced that the government will abolish ESA reassessments for those with life-long severe health conditions with no prospect of improvement.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/government-to-scrap-esa-reassessments-for-those-with-lifelong-severe-conditions/Big or small – tell us what your child’s done to make you burst with prideIf you care for a disabled child who's done something - big or small - that's made you beam with pride, why not tell us about it and nominate them in the Proudest Moment category of our first ever Contact a Family awards?http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/big-or-small-–-tell-us-what-your-childs-done-to-make-you-burst-with-pride/Are you looking for a challenge? Run the Virgin London Marathon for us!Join our Contact a Family team and make a huge difference to thousands of families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/are-you-looking-for-a-challenge-run-the-virgin-london-marathon-for-us!/Our hospitals and hospices project helps families in needBased in Birmingham Children's Hospital, Great North Children's Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children (GOSH) and the Evelina London's Children's Hospital, our hospitals and hospices project places expert parent advisers at the first port of call.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/our-hospitals-and-hospices-project-helps-families-in-need/Nominate a Family Champion in the Contact a Family awardsOur Family Champion award is for professionals, politicians or other government officials who've gone that extra mile to champion the causes of families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/nominate-a-family-champion-in-the-contact-a-family-awards/How do I find reliable medical information online? Our tips for navigating the internetViewers of Coronation Street will recently have seen expectant dad Steve find out that he might have a condition called Myotonic Dystrophy. One aspect of the story many parents will relate to is Steve’s difficulty finding reliable medical information on the internet. A nurse helps him find a reputable website as he becomes overwhelmed by the huge amount of information on the web.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/how-do-i-find-reliable-medical-information-online-our-tips-for-navigating-the-internet/Extra Costs Commission highlights the extra costs of disabilityThe Extra Costs Commission - an independent inquiry into the extra costs faced by disabled people and their families - has made recommendations for disabled people, organisations, businesses, regulators and government to help drive down the additional costs of disability.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/extra-costs-commission-highlights-the-extra-costs-of-disability/Contact a Family's cycling champ is halfway thereContact a Family's cycling champ Stephen Kingdom is almost halfway to meeting his fundraising target of at least £10k for families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-a-familys-cycling-champ-nears-2000-mile-barrier/Help for parents around education in EnglandAs you may know our helpline has a dedicated education advice team for parents to call about any aspect of getting extra help for their child in education. They have put together a helpful series of factsheets explaining the different levels of support in school for children who have special educational needs.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/help-for-parents-around-education-in-england/Tell the health secretary to prioritise mental health supportWe're asking you to sign our letter to health secretary Jeremy Hunt calling for improved access to mental health support for disabled children and young people.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/tell-the-health-secretary-to-prioritise-mental-heath-support/Let’s Participate – National event demonstrates that parent participation is going from strength to strengthParent carer forums from across England met to discuss ‘What’s Next for Participation?’ at an event organised by Contact a Family and the National Network of Parent Carer Forums today. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/lets-participate-–-national-event-demonstrates-that-parent-participation-is-going-from-strength-to-strength/Can you help us improve our advice service?Have you called our helpline recently? Do you use our website to find advice on caring for your child? Are you an active member of our Facebook community? If the answer is yes, we'd like to hear from you. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/we-want-your-thoughts-on-improving-our-advice-service/Our campaign call as parliament debates National Living WageAs parliament debates the National Living Wage today, Thursday 3 November, we're calling for the chancellor to ensure Carer's Allowance earnings threshold is increased in line with the National Living Wage so families with disabled children don't lose out on vital support.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/our-campaign-call-as-parliament-debates-national-living-wage/The government wants your views on benefit exemption rulesThe government is asking for your views on which groups should be exempt from plans to limit the child element in tax credits and universal credit to two children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/the-government-wants-your-views-on-benefit-exemption-rules/88,000 households affected by lowering of benefit cap today On Monday 7 November 2016, the household benefit cap is being lowered from £500 per week to £442 in London and to £385 elsewhere. An extra 88,000 households are expected to be affected by this lower cap.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/88000-households-affected-by-lowering-of-benefit-cap-today/Cycling champ receives hero's welcome from North West teamOur cycling champ Stephen Kingdom's 260 mile ride to Burnley this weekend ended with a hero's welcome from our North West team.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/cycling-champ-receives-heros-welcome-from-north-west-team/Samantha and David Cameron show continued support to Contact a Family Samantha and David Cameron met with parents of disabled children at the Savile Club this morning to show their continued support for our work.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/samantha-and-david-cameron-show-continued-support-to-contact-a-family/Disabled children among those revealed as living in poverty in some parts of the UK Today the End Child Poverty coalition - which Contact a Family is a member of - has published new figures providing a new Child Poverty map of the UK. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/disabled-children-among-those-revealed-as-living-in-poverty-in-some-parts-of-the-uk/Supreme Court upholds Rutherford challenge on bedroom taxToday the Supreme Court has dismissed the government’s appeal against the Rutherford family’s successful challenge to the bedroom tax in the Court of Appeal.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/supreme-court-upholds-rutherford-challenge-on-bedroom-tax/MPS debate mental health as we call for greater focusLast week we launched our new campaign aimed at ending the wait for mental health support for families with disabled children and young people. Almost 1,700 of you have pledged support for our campaign by signing a letter to the health secretary Jeremy Hunt MP. Can you help us get to 2,000 signatures?http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/mental-health-campaign/Could you do something fantastic this Christmas?With Christmas only a few weeks away, why not consider one of our fundraising events to help you get into the Christmas spirit?http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/could-you-do-something-fantastic-this-christmas/Use your Power For Good this Anti-Bullying weekThis week, 14-18 November, is Anti-Bullying Week, and we're joining the Anti-Bullying Alliance in supporting parents, children and teachers to use their Power For Good to put an end to bullying.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/use-your-power-for-good-this-anti-bullying-week/Contact a Family calls for government to stop ESA cuts As parliament debates cuts to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit today, Contact a Family and the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) is calling for MPs to speak out against £30 a week being taken away from sick and disabled people.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-a-family-calls-for-government-to-stop-esa-cuts/More Universal Credit roll outs this AutumnThis Autumn the full Universal Credit 'digital service' is being extended to new job centre areas.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/more-universal-credit-roll-outs-this-autumn/Is your child nearly 16? Read our new guide for parents, Personal Independence Payment and other benefits at 16You have probably heard quite a bit about Personal Independence Payment (PIP), the new benefit for young people and adults aged 16-64 that is gradually replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA). Now our expert advisers have written a comprehensive guide to the new benefit.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/is-your-child-nearly-16-read-our-new-guide-for-parents-personal-independence-payment-and-other-benefits-at-16/Autumn Statement: Contact a Family's responseUna Summerson, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Contact a Family, said: “Today’s Autumn Statement unfortunately does not offer much in the way of support for struggling families with disabled children."http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/autumn-statement-contact-a-familys-response/Our education helpline handles a staggering 19,000 enquiries in its first 5 yearsToday the special educational needs (SEN) team on our helpline celebrates five years of helping parents navigate the SEN system of support in school.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/our-education-helpline-handles-a-staggering-19000-enquiries-in-its-first-5-years/What kind of fundraising activity appeals to you?We’d be really grateful if you could take 10 minutes to answer some short questions about our fundraising activities. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/what-kind-of-fundraising-activity-appeals-to-you/Contact a Family calling for compensation fund for families with disabled children who have missed out on tax credit extra paymentsContact a Family is calling for a compensation fund for families with disabled children who have missed out on tax credits due to a government administrative issue.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-a-family-calling-for-compensation-fund-for-families-with-disabled-children-who-have-missed-out-on-tax-credit-extra-payments/Benefits of Carer's Allowance earnings limit increase cancelled out by rise in National Living WageThe earnings limit for Carer’s Allowance will be increased to £116 per week from April 2017. While this will be good news for some carers, for others who work 16 hours or more per week, the increase will be of little or no benefit. This is because the National Living Wage will also be increased to £7.50 per hour from April 2017.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/benefits-of-carers-allowance-earnings-limit-increase-cancelled-out-by-rise-in-national-living-wage/ Be amazed by some of our key achievements in 2015/2016Today we've published our Annual Review 2015/16 [PDF] as our trustees meet for the Contact a Family AGM.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/be-amazed-by-some-of-our-key-achievements-in-20152016/33% of families go without heating - how you can get the bills downOur Counting the Costs campaign found that of 3,500 surveyed families, 33 per cent are going without heating, and 36 per cent have needed to take out a loan to pay their heating bills. Of those families who have taken out a loan, 65 per cent have fallen behind.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/33-of-families-go-without-heating-how-you-can-get-the-bills-down/4,000 low income families with disabled children hit by Welsh Government cutsToday alongside Carers Wales and Learning Disability Wales we're calling for the Welsh Government to rethink its decision to make £5.5 million of funding cuts that provides vital grants to low income families with severely ill or disabled children in Wales.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/4000-low-income-families-with-disabled-children-hit-by-welsh-government-cuts/Do you need help with your child’s behaviour?There are many reasons disabled children exhibit behaviour that challenges, and there are often complex reasons behind a child’s behaviour. Our newly updated guide for parents, Understanding your child’s behaviour why children behave in different ways.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/do-you-need-help-with-your-childs-behaviour/Our Connected Autumn/Winter 2016 magazine is out now Our Connected Autumn/Winter 2016 magazine [PDF] is now available to download or order. We celebrate parents’ and young people’s achievements – no matter how big or small. To give you a sneak peak we’re sharing a story from the latest edition.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/our-connected-autumnwinter-2016-magazine-is-out-now/Our cycling star meets football icons after latest long haul ride Our cycling champ Stephen Kingdom's fifteenth ride of the season ended pitchside at Hull City alongside two of the club's former players, Dean Windass and Bryan Hughes. Diehard Crystal Palace FC fan Stephen is cycling to every single home and away game this season to raise money for Contact a Family.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/our-cycling-star-meets-football-icons-after-latest-long-haul-ride/Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is extending in Northern IrelandFrom today, Monday 12 December, the Northern Ireland government is starting to invite Disability Living Allowance (DLA) claimants aged 16-64 with a long-term or indefinite award of DLA to consider claiming Personal Independence Payment (PIP) instead.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/personal-independence-payment-(pip)-is-extending-in-northern-ireland/Wales government plans new system for children with additional needs in educationThe Welsh government is making changes to the way children with additional needs are supported throughout their education. The Children, Young People and Education Committee is carrying out a consultation on the general principles of the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/wales-government-plans-new-system-for-children-with-additional-needs-in-education/How does the tax credit 'disabled child element' affect housing benefit?The recent news that 28,000 families are to receive extra child tax credit has prompted questions from parents about the effect these extra payments might have on other ‘means-tested’ benefits.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/how-does-the-tax-credit-disabled-child-element-affect-housing-benefit/Christmas opening hours for our advice helplineOur helpline will be closed from 5pm on Friday 23 December and then will re-open on 3 January at the usual time of 9.30am. If you need to speak to someone when the helpline is closed over Christmas, these contacts may be helpful.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/christmas-opening-hours-for-our-advice-helpline/Department for Education announces £40m special education funding The Department for Education (DfE) has announced £40m of new funding to local authorities, for 2017-2018, to continue to support transition to the new system for special education needs (SEN) in England.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/department-for-education-announces-40m-special-education-funding/Happy Christmas from everyone at Contact a FamilyWe want to say a big thank you and Happy Christmas to all the families we've been in touch with over the last year.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/happy-christmas-from-everyone-at-contact-a-family-(1)/Shape the next big campaign for disabled childrenIn August we announced that Contact a Family is chairing an exciting new collaboration between 25 disability and children's charities.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/help-shape-the-disabled-childrens-partnerships-campaign-goals/New Year’s Honour for Parent Carer Participation LeaderSherann Hillman, Co-chair of the National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF), has been awarded an MBE for her services to disabled children by the Queen in the New Year’s Honours list.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/new-years-honour-for-parent-carer-participation-leader/NICE publishes new quality standard on 'Transition from children's to adult's services'On 21st December 2016, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published quality standard for ‘Transition from children’s to adult’s services’. The standards are welcomes by Contact a Family and set out five ‘quality statements’ which indicate high quality care for young people transitioning from children’s to adults’ health or social care services http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/nice-publishes-new-quality-standard-on-transition-from-childrens-to-adults-services/There’s no stopping our fantastic fundraiser Cycling the SeasonOur superstar fundraiser Stephen Kingdom has been at it again. This weekend he cycled around 400 miles to and from Bolton Wanderers FC for their FA Cup clash with Stephen’s beloved Crystal Palace FC.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/theres-no-stopping-our-fantastic-fundraiser-cycling-the-season/DfE funding for parent forums and Contact a Family helplineEdward Timpson MP, Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families has announced the government will continue to fund parent forums with a grant of £2.3 million. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/department-for-education-announces-continued-funding-for-parent-forums-in-england/Contact a Family Awards finalists announcedWe are very excited to announce the finalists for Contact a Family’s first ever Awards. We had over 100 nominations to the awards and the judging panel were often moved to tears reading about the wonderful things families do for each other, and what they have achieved. So thank you to everyone who nominated. We think that you are all amazing and to show that we will be sending a certificate to all those who have been nominated shortly. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-a-family-awards-finalists-announced/Share your views on residential special schools and collegesThe government has launched a call for evidence to learn more about the educational experiences and outcomes of children and young people attending residential special schools and colleges.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/share-your-views-on-residential-special-schools-and-colleges/Announcing the winners of our inaugural Contact a Family awardsWe're delighted to share with you the winners of our very first Contact a Family awards.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/announcing-the-winners-of-our-inaugural-contact-a-family-awards/Lenehan review calls for better communication with families of children with complex mental health needsThe Department of Health has published a report calling for urgent action to prevent children with challenging behaviour and complex mental health needs being institutionalised at an early age.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/lenehan-review-calls-for-better-communication-with-families-of-children-with-complex-mental-health-needs/Missed out on the disability element of child tax credit between 2011 and 2016?In its Autumn statement, the government announced that 28,000 families were missing out on extra tax credits as a result of a breakdown in communication between the Disability Living Allowance Unit and the Tax Credits Office.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/missed-out-on-the-disability-element-of-child-tax-credit-between-2011-and-2016/Universal Credit full service rolled out to more areas throughout FebruaryDuring February the Universal Credit full service will be extended to families with disabled children in a further five job centre areas.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/universal-credit-full-service-rolled-out-to-more-areas-throughout-february/Childcare leaving families with disabled children in the darkA new report from the Family and Childcare Trust finds that local authorities are not providing the information families with disabled children need to access childcare.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/childcare-leaving-families-with-disabled-children-in-the-dark/99 per cent of our helpline users satisfied with our adviceWe want to say thank you to everyone who completed our helpline and online services survey in March. 99 per cent of users of our freephone helpline said that they were satisfied/very satisfied with the advice we provided. This was the same result as our last survey in November, so we're happy to know we're still a vital support for many families.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/99-per-cent-of-our-helpline-users-satisfied-with-our-advice/Consultation on employment for disabled peopleAt our recent Awards ceremony at Speaker’s House, one of the things the Minister for Disabled People, Penny Mordaunt MP, spoke about was the governments Green Paper focused on employment for disabled people.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/consultation-on-employment-for-disabled-people/Join our campaign to improve school transportToday we launch our biggest inquiry into school transport for disabled children, and we want to hear from you.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/join-our-campaign-to-improve-school-transport/Cycling star nears fundraising target Our cycling star Stephen Kingdom's passed the season's halfway mark but his fundraising efforts are racing ahead.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/cycling-star-nears-fundraising-target/Funding boost for Northern Ireland families around moving into adulthoodContact a Family Northern Ireland and Carers NI are delighted to have received funding to identify the best ways to support families with disabled children moving into adulthood.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/funding-boost-for-northern-ireland-families-around-moving-into-adulthood/Busting the top school transport mythsIn this article we bust some of the top myths around home to school transport.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/busting-the-top-school-transport-myths-(england)/Contact a Family featured on Radio 4 Woman’s Hour's caring seriesOur family support manager Rosie Noble and trustee Nakita Singh featured on today’s BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour in a piece focusing on the ups and downs of caring for disabled child.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-a-family-featured-on-radio-4-womans-hours-caring-series/Football stars get behind our cycling hero's epic challengeThe stars of Crystal Palace football team took time out after training to show their support for Stephen Kingdom, the diehard fan who is cycling to every Eagles home and away game this season to raise money for Contact a Family.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/football-stars-get-behind-our-cycling-heros-epic-challenge/Government announces change to Personal Independence Payment entitlement rules Contact a Family is extremely concerned about planned changes to the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) criteria rules.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/government-announces-surprise-change-to-pip-entitlement-rules/We’re celebrating Rare Disease Day 2017 todayToday is Rare Disease Day 2017, the tenth international event held each year on the last day of February. The main objective of Rare Disease Day is to raise awareness among the general public and decision-makers about rare diseases and their impact on patients' lives. In this article, we share an inspirational story from a little boy with a rare condition, and we explain how we support families with children with rare conditions.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/were-celebrating-rare-disease-day-2017-today/Government announces £215m funding to improve special education facilitiesMinister for Vulnerable Children and Families Edward Timpson has announced £215m funding for local councils in England to create more school places and improve facilities for children with special educational needs and disabilities.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/government-announces-215m-funding-to-improve-special-education-facilities/Government confirms it’s scrapping housing payments for some 18-21 year oldsThe government has published new rules confirming that some 18-21 year olds who claim Universal Credit will no longer get payments towards their housing costs.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/government-confirms-its-scrapping-housing-payments-for-some-18-21-year-olds/Spring budget 2017: Contact a Family concerned about school transport plansIn today’s budget the government has announced extra money for school transport for children from low income families who attend grammar schools. Amanda Batten Chief Executive of Contact a Family, said: “Against a backdrop of cuts to school transport for disabled children, we are concerned that the government has prioritised children in grammar schools for free school transport."http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/budget-2017-contact-a-family-concerned-about-school-transport-plans/Universal Credit full service rolled out to more areas throughout March, from todayDuring March the Universal Credit full service is being extended to families with disabled children in a further five job centre areas, starting today, 8 March, with the Hinkley jobcentre.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/universal-credit-full-service-rolled-out-to-more-areas-throughout-march-from-today/"School transport is the straw that breaks the camel's back" - A report from our parliamentary hearingLast month we launched a school transport inquiry to find out what the situation is across the country for families with disabled children. As part of the inquiry, this week we held a parliamentary hearing at the House of Commons, chaired by Caroline Ansell, MP for Eastbourne.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/school-transport-is-the-straw-that-breaks-the-camels-back-a-report-from-our-parliamentary-hearing/Bedroom tax changes – new rules are confirmed The government is finally changing the bedroom tax rules to bring them into line with the Supreme Court judgement in the Rutherford case. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/bedroom-tax-changes-–-new-rules-are-confirmed/Welsh Government won't reconsider funding cuts Contact a Family Cymru, Carers Wales and Learning Disability Wales would like to thank all the families who contacted their assembly members (AMs) to back over 4,000 low income families with disabled children during the debate on Wednesday 8 March.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/welsh-government-wont-reconsider-funding-cuts/New council tax bill? Make sure you don’t miss out on help The past month has seen millions of families across the UK receive their new council tax bill for the coming year.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/new-council-tax-bill-make-sure-you-dont-miss-out-on-help/Home to school transport featured on BBC Breakfast tomorrowLook out for a piece about home to school transport on BBC Breakfast tomorrow morning.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/home-to-school-transport-featured-on-bbc-breakfast-tomorrow/Urgent action needed to turn the tide on child povertyNew figures published today show that child poverty now stands at the highest level since 2009/10, with 4 million children in the UK now living in relative poverty increased.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/urgent-action-needed-to-turn-the-tide-on-child-poverty/Unprecedented coalition of UK charities unite to tackle inequality for disabled children and their families Contact a Family’s chief executive Amanda Batten appeared on BBC 2’s Victoria Derbyshire show this morning to launch a brand new coalition of leading charities fighting for better health and social care for disabled children, young people and their families. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/unprecedented-coalition-of-uk-charities-unite-to-tackle-inequality-for-disabled-children-and-their-families/Many carers won’t benefit from increase in Carer’s Allowance earning limitCarer’s Allowance is the main benefit for carers. You can still get it even if you are working, so long as your earnings are no more than a weekly amount known as ‘the earnings limit’. From April 2017 the earnings limit will be going up to £116 per week.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/many-carers-wont-benefit-from-increase-in-carers-allowance-earning-limit/Contact a Family Wales funding means more outdoor family adventures We are delighted to announce that Contact a Family Wales/Cymru has been awarded a three-year grant of £32,592 from BBC Children in Need.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-a-family-wales-funding-means-more-outdoor-family-adventures/Report into children’s social care in England published todayThe All Party Parliamentary Group for Children has published the findings of its inquiry of into children’s social care in England today.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/report-into-childrens-social-care-in-england-published-today/Your views on exclusions needed Last week, the Department for Education launched a consultation on changes to the statutory guidance on the exclusion of pupils in England.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/your-views-on-exclusions-needed/Share your thoughts on support for children with speech, language and communication needsCharity I CAN in partnership with the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists wants to hear about the support and services you’ve been offered for your child’s difficulty with speech and language.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/share-your-thoughts-on-support-for-children-with-speech-language-and-communication-needs/New website to help parents find available government funded childcareThe government has launched a new website to help parents find all the government funded childcare offers, including the two new offers: 30 hours free childcare and Tax Free Childcare. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/new-website-to-help-parents-find-available-government-funded-childcare/Implementing the UK Strategy for Rare DiseasesA debate is being held in Westminster later today to discuss the implementation of the UK’s Strategy for Rare Diseases.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/implementing-the-uk-strategy-for-rare-diseases/Rare disease implementation plan for England announcedYesterday we told you about a Westminster debate to discuss the implementation of the UK's Strategy for Rare Diseases. We’re delighted to let you know that during yesterday’s debate, Minister of State for Health Philip Dunne MP announced that NHS England will develop an implementation plan for the commitments outlined in the UK Strategy for Rare Diseases by the end of the year.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/rare-disease-implementation-plan-for-england-announced/Contact a Family concerned about impact of proposed school funding formula on children with SENContact a Family is concerned that proposed changes to school funding, which will see some areas with largely reduced budgets, could mean that there is less money in the system for children with special educational needs (SEN).http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-a-family-concerned-about-impact-of-proposed-school-funding-formula-on-children-with-sen/Disability and poverty in the news Look out for parent Chantal, and Contact a Family's CEO, Amanda Batten, on the BBC 6 o'clock news tonight talking about why families with disabled children are more likely to be living in poverty.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/disability-and-poverty-in-the-news/Report highlights continued barriers for disabled people and their families despite laws to protect their rightsThe Equality and Human Rights Commission has published a report: ‘Being disabled in Britain: A journey less equal’, the most comprehensive analysis ever on how the rights of disabled people are protected in Great Britain.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/report-highlights-continued-barriers-for-disabled-people-and-their-families-despite-laws-to-protect-their-rights/ Cuts to Employment and Support Allowance introduced this week From this week (Monday 3 April) the government is introducing cuts to Employment and Support Allowance that will see some new claimants miss out on up to £2,301 per year.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/cuts-to-employment-and-support-allowance-introduced-this-week/Changes to bereavement benefits from tomorrowFrom tomorrow (6 April) the current system of bereavement benefits is being replaced by a new bereavement support allowance (BSA). BSA will be time-limited to only 18 months, and it is expected that three quarters of newly bereaved parents will receive less help from BSA than under the existing system.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/changes-to-bereavement-benefits-from-tomorrow/Government limits tax credits and Universal Credit payments to first two children From today, Thursday 6 April, new rules mean that families who already have two dependent children will not receive an extra amount if they have another baby.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/government-limits-tax-credits-and-universal-credit-payments-to-first-two-children/Our cycling champ smashes target with boost from football starsCongratulations to our cycling superstar Stephen Kingdom, who's now smashed his £10k fundraising target with two months of his Cycling the Season challenge remaining.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/our-cycling-champ-smashes-target-with-boost-from-football-stars/Report shows council cuts to social care - join the Disabled Children's PartnershipThe Institute for Fiscal Studies has published a new report showing that one in ten councils have cut adult social care by more than a quarter.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/report-shows-council-cuts-to-social-care-join-the-disabled-childrens-partnership/Thanks to the 1000s who joined our school transport campaign - here's what's nextSchool transport is one of the top issues our helpline gets calls about. So when we launched the call for evidence as part of our biggest every inquiry into school transport for disabled children, we knew we would get a good response.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/thanks-to-the-1000s-who-joined-our-school-transport-campaign-heres-whats-next/Contact a Family secures funding to boost families’ knowledge of early year entitlements Contact a Family has successfully secured over £360,000 from the Department for Education to help parent carers understand more about how they can access quality childcare for their disabled child from nurseries and childminders.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-a-family-secures-funding-to-boost-families-knowledge-of-early-year-entitlements/Parent adviser Dawn takes on a triple challenge This year, one of our amazing parent advisers, Dawn Stilwell, is truly going the extra mile to help us continue our work supporting families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/parent-adviser-dawn-takes-on-a-triple-challenge/Helpline closure over Easter and our new holidays guideOur freephone helpline will be closed over the Easter period. If you need advice and support while we're closed, don't forget we have lots of information on our website on a range of issues to do with caring for a disabled child. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/helpline-closure-over-easter-and-our-new-holidays-guide/Get your free guide to benefits changesThis April has seen the government introduce a large number of changes to the benefits and tax credits system, many of which will impact on families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/get-your-free-guide-to-benefits-changes/Introducing our brand new online community – sign up today!We’re delighted to welcome you to our online community, a brand new space where you can connect with families like yours.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/introducing-our-brand-new-online-community-–-sign-up-today/Dinosaur Day is back this June so go dino and donate!On Monday 19 June, our annual Dinosaur Day fundraiser is back. Hold a cake sale with a prehistoric or Dinosaur theme, organise a Dinosaur dress down day at school, or sponsor your boss to wear a Dinosaur mask for the day. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/dinosaur-day-is-back-this-june-so-go-dino-and-donate!/Unhappy with your child's primary school place? We're here to helpWe know that some families will be disappointed if their child did not get the school they wanted. If you are in this situation it may help to know that there are steps you can takehttp://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/unhappy-with-your-childs-primary-school-place-were-here-to-help/Congratulations to our amazing London Marathon runners!Last Sunday, our incredible 15 runners took to the streets of London to represent Contact a Family at the Virgin London Marathon.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/congratulations-to-our-amazing-london-marathon-runners!/Universal Credit full service rolled out to more areas from todayFrom today, April 26, the the Universal Credit full service is being extended to families with disabled children in those parts of Lancashire covered by the Oldham jobcentre. Then during May it will be rolled out to the job centres in Bedford, Dover, Burnley, Ilkeston, Long Eaton, Chippenham.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/universal-credit-full-service-rolled-out-to-more-areas-from-today/Our head of campaigns pays tribute to childcare campaigner Stacie LewisIn this article, our head of campaigns Una Summerson pays tribute to an inspirational childcare campaigner.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/our-head-of-campaigns-pays-tribute-to-childcare-campaigner-stacie-lewis/"Suddenly I had a family that stretched around the globe" - Sally blogs about meeting parents onlineWe recently launched our new online community, a brand new space where you can connect with families like yours. Mum Sally helped us get the community started, and here she tell us why meeting other parents online was so valuable to her.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/suddenly-i-had-a-family-that-stretched-around-the-globe-sally-blogs-about-meeting-parents-online/Introducing our birth to five parenting workshopsEarlier this month we announced that we'd been awarded over £360,000 to develop workshops to help parent carers understand more about how they can access quality childcare for their disabled child from nurseries and childminders. You can now see where our first raft of workshops will be running.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/introducing-our-birth-to-five-parenting-workshops/New tax-free childcare scheme starts today Today, Friday 28 April, sees the introduction of a new tax-free childcare scheme for working families. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/new-tax-free-childcare-scheme-starts-today/Where do you find support, advice and community online?There is loads of support and medical advice online these days and, for many people, online is where we go first when we have a question. Many parents also join online communities on Facebook or other social media sites to connect with each other.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/where-do-you-find-support-advice-and-community-online/Shape the next big health and social care campaign We need you to shape our campaign. We want to understand more about the day-to-day lives of disabled children, young people and their families, so we're asking you to take part in the biggest ever poll of families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/shape-the-next-big-health-and-social-care-campaign/Universal Credit full service rolled out to more areasThis May the Universal Credit full service is being extended to families with disabled children in more parts of the country.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/universal-credit-full-service-rolled-out-to-more-areas/Join our Universal Credit #KnowYourClaim campaign Today we're launching our Universal Credit campaign #KnowYourClaim.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/join-our-universal-credit-knowyourclaim-campaign/Our response to school exclusions consultationLast month, we responded to the government consultation on changes to the statutory guidance on the exclusion of pupils in England. The statutory guidance sets out what schools and local authorities must do to comply with the law.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/our-response-to-school-exclusions-consultation/Children and Social Work Bill receives royal assentAt the end of last month the Children and Social Work Bill was one of 22 bills to receive royal assent before the dissolution of parliament ahead of June's general election.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/children-and-social-work-bill-receives-royal-assent/Our 7,000 mile cycling hero rewarded with team success Our cycling superstar Stephen Kingdom has expressed joy and relief that his beloved Crystal Palace are staying in the Premier League after cycling 7,000 miles to games this season as part of his epic Cycling the Season challenge.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/our-7000-mile-cycling-hero-rewarded-with-team-success/Join a parent advisory group for challenging behaviour projectAre you interested in joining a parent advisory group for a pioneering new project about challenging behaviour support for parents with young disabled children?http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/join-a-parent-advisory-group-for-challenging-behaviour-project/Listen to our new podcast, How to claim Universal CreditWe've made a series of Universal Credit podcasts, and today we're sharing "How to claim Universal Credit." In this podcast, our parent adviser Nicos explains how to claim Universal Credit, the new benefit being rolled out across the country.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/listen-to-our-new-podcast-how-to-claim-universal-credit/Join us for a night of new writing fundraiser this FridayJoin us this Friday for a night of theatre and raise money for a great cause at the same time!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/join-us-for-a-night-of-new-writing-fundraiser-this-friday/What is the Universal Credit 'claimant commitment'?We've made a series of Universal Credit podcasts, in the first answering What is Universal Credit? and in the second explaining How to claim Universal Credit. In our third podcast, our parent adviser Nicos explains the document called 'a claimant commitment', which sets out what you need to do to get Universal Credit.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/what-is-the-universal-credit-claimant-commitment/Order your free copies of our new Universal Credit factsheetsWe've published two new Universal Credit factsheets to help you understand the new benefit being rolled out across the country. Download them today or order a free printed copy from our helpline.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/order-your-free-copies-of-our-new-universal-credit-factsheets/Join the Don't Quit, Do It campaign and make sport accessible to all Our partners Irwin Mitchell are asking you to join their Don't Quit, Do It campaign and make a single pledge to promote disability in sport.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/join-the-dont-quit-do-it-campaign-and-make-sport-accessible-to-all/Government confirms dates for Universal Credit full service expansion over the summer. The government has now confirmed that there will be a major expansion of the Universal Credit full service to during the summer involving many more job centres.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/government-confirms-dates-for-universal-credit-full-service-expansion-over-the-summer/#KnowYourClaim - a roundup of our Universal Credit monthHere's a roundup of our Universal Credit resources to help you understand the new benefit being rolled out across the country.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/knowyourclaim-a-roundup-of-our-universal-credit-month/Roar for Dinosaur Day on 19th JuneIt is just 11 days until Dinosaur Day on 19 June. Dinosaur Day is a great chance for you to raise awareness of the challenges faced by families with disabled children and to raise funds for the vital support that Contact a Family can offer.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/roar-for-dinosaur-day-on-19th-june/PM: Stop Universal Credit cutsWe're calling on the Prime Minister to reverse cuts to child disability payments under Universal Credit. Join us by signing our petition today.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/pm-stop-universal-credit-cuts/Worse off under Universal Credit?Unfortunately some parents are being left much worse off as a result of having to claim Universal Credit, especially as a result of cuts to the child disability addition for children who do not get Disability Living Allowance (DLA) care at the highest rate.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/worse-off-under-universal-credit/Contact a Family patron and ex deputy CEO awarded OBEContact a Family patron and former deputy chief executive, Paul Soames, has been given an OBE for services to children and families.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-a-family-patron-and-ex-deputy-ceo-awarded-obe/Our education expert's advice on school absenceThis month our parent adviser Lesley Black has been speaking to TheSchoolRun.com about what the law says about absence from school and how schools should support your absent child.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/our-education-experts-advice-on-school-absence/Mortgage support for benefit claimants being reduced from this week. The amount that benefit claimants receive to help meet their mortgage interest payments is reducing from this week.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/mortgage-support-for-benefit-claimants-being-reduced-from-this-week/Contact a Family launches first menu of professional servicesWe're delighted to announced that for the first time we've launched a menu of services for professionals working with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-a-family-launches-first-menu-of-professional-services/Disabled children need your support today!We know that 43 per cent of the British public don’t know anyone who is disabled and that 97 per cent of parents with a disabled children do not believe the public understands the challenges they face every day. Our campaign, the Secret Life of Us – developed in close partnership with parents – looks to change this.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/disabled-children-need-your-support-today!/Huge thanks for a ROAR-some Dinosaur Day 2017On Monday 19th June, we celebrated Dinosaur Day with schools, nurseries, companies and community groups who went Dino for the day and helped us support thousands of families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/huge-thanks-for-a-roar-some-dinosaur-day-2017/Contact a Family on the Queen's Speech debateContact a Family CEO and Chair of the Disabled Children’s Partnership, which represents more than 45 UK charities and launched its new campaign this week, has commented on the Queen's speech.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-a-family-on-the-queens-speech-debate/Ministerial appointments since the election In light of the recent election, we welcome the opportunity to work with a number of newly-appointed ministers at the departments of Education, Work and Pensions, and Health. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/ministerial-appointments-since-the-election/Local authorities underspending discretionary housing payment budgetsThe Department of Work and Pensions has released statistics showing that 73 per cent of local authorities in England and Wales did not spend all the funding they got from central government for discretionary housing payments (DHP). http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/local-authorities-underspending-discretionary-housing-payment-budgets/Celebrating Cycling the SeasonOver 7,000 miles, 550 hours in the saddle, two wheel changes and a massive £17k raised for Contact a Family! Our phenomenal fundraiser Stephen Kingdom popped into Contact a Family’s City Road offices on Thursday 6th July so we could all say a big thank you and celebrate the completion of his epic cycling challenge with him.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/celebrating-cycling-the-season/Don’t forget to renew your tax credits by the end of JulyThe deadline for renewing tax credit claims is fast approaching. Read this article to find out what you need to do to make sure you continue to receive the financial support you're entitled to. HMRC also produce a short video explaining what you need to do to renew your claim. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/dont-forget-to-renew-your-tax-credits-by-the-end-of-july/Contact a Family responds to school funding announcementOn Monday in parliament, the secretary of state, Justine Greening MP, made a series of announcements on school funding.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-a-family-responds-to-school-funding-announcement/Contact a Family and UCL launch first UK trial to investigate reducing challenging behaviour in pre-schoolersWe've joined forces with University College London (UCL) to launch a national clinical trial - the first of its kind in the UK - that aims to reduce behaviour that challenges in very young children with learning disabilities.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-a-family-and-ucl-launch-first-uk-trial-to-investigate-reducing-challenging-behaviour-in-pre-schoolers/Universal Credit full service rolled out to more areas this weekThis week sees the extension of the Universal Credit full service to families with disabled children in another 8 jobcentre areas.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/universal-credit-full-service-rolled-out-to-more-areas-this-week/Join our community with your own Facebook accountWe've added a new feature to our online community allowing you to login with your own Facebook account.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/join-our-community-with-your-own-facebook-account/Cycling novice Shirley takes on Tour de France challengeParent carer Shirley is taking on an epic cycling challenge to raise vital funds for other families with disabled children - but not before learning to ride a bike first!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/cycling-novice-shirley-takes-on-tour-de-france-challenge/Our new resources for bereaved parentsThe death of a child is a devastating loss, whatever the circumstances. We know that parents who've lost a child will be going through the most distressing time, and they will need help to deal with their situation. We've produced some new resources to support bereaved parents. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/our-new-resources-for-bereaved-parents/Looking for fun holiday ideas for your family?Contact a Family’s guide to holidays, play and leisure is packed full of useful information to help you plan to keep the kids occupied this summer holiday.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/looking-for-fun-holiday-ideas-for-your-family/Increase in number of pupils with special educational needsThe number of pupils with special educational needs (SEN) in England has increased to 1,244,255 according to the latest Department for Education figures released on Thursday 27 July.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/increase-in-number-of-pupils-with-special-educational-needs/Don’t miss out on new childcare offers If you qualify for 30 hours' free childcare, it is crucial in the weeks before September that you bring your eligibility codes to your childcare providers. If you don't, you may miss out on a September place.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/dont-miss-out-on-new-childcare-offers/Funding boost for Contact CymruWe are delighted to announce we have been granted funding from the Garfield Weston Foundation, a family-founded grant-making trust that has been supporting charities across the UK for over 50 years. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/funding-boost-for-contact-a-family-cymru/Schools out - act now to make sure your tax credits don’t stop for your 16-19 year oldIf you have a 16-19 year old who'll be staying in non-advanced education after the summer holidays, remember to let the Tax Credit Office know or you could lose out on tax credit payments. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/schools-out-act-now-to-make-sure-your-tax-credits-dont-stop-for-your-16-19-year-old/We’ve changed our name, look and feel to reach more families sooner!You may have noticed that our website looks and feels a little different today. That's because we've refreshed our brand and shortened our name to Contact. We've made these changes to help us reach more families with disabled children as soon as they need us and to highlight the wide variety of work we do.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/weve-changed-our-name-look-and-feel-to-reach-more-families-sooner!/Good luck to our amazing Great North Run supporters!The Great North Run, the world's largest half marathon, takes place this Sunday 10th September. We have five amazing runners who have been training and fundraising with all their might to help us continue supporting thousands of families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/good-luck-to-our-amazing-great-north-run-supporters!/Today we've secured a major campaign winToday we've secured a major campaign win. The Secretary of State for education has announced plans to review school transport statutory guidance to make sure all local authorities are providing school travel for eligible children with special educational needs.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/today-weve-secured-a-major-campaign-win/Department for Education publishes latest forum SEND surveyThe Department for Education (DfE) has published its latest newsletter, including the headline figures from the Spring 2017 special educational needs and disability (SEND) implementation survey of local authorities and parent carer forums on the SEND reforms.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/department-for-education-publishes-latest-forum-send-survey/How our helpline is achieving childcare successFrom this September 2017, working families of three and four year olds in England are entitled to an extra 15 hours of free childcare. This is on top of the existing 15 hours of free early education for all parents of three and four year olds and some two year olds. The 30 hours free childcare offer is worth around £5,000 per child. We have produced a new webpage on eligibility for the new 30 hours free childcare offer.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/how-our-helpline-is-achieving-childcare-success/MPs call for halt in the roll out of Universal CreditFrank Field, chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, has said that fundamental flaws in Universal Credit must be resolved before the roll out of the full service continues.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/mps-call-for-halt-in-the-roll-out-of-universal-credit/Are you brave enough to be Styled by the Kids?We are launching a brand new fundraising initiative this October and we’d love you to join in the fun and help raise money for Contact at the same time.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/are-you-brave-enough-to-be-styled-by-the-kids/Details of Scottish Young Carer Grant confirmed Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has confirmed details of a new grant for young carers at school.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/details-of-scottish-young-carer-grant-confirmed/Universal credit is extended to Northern Ireland Despite recent calls for the rollout of Universal Credit to be suspended, this week sees the introduction of Universal Credit to Northern Ireland for the first time.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/universal-credit-is-extended-to-northern-ireland/The day I made an appeal - a parent blogIn this parent blog, Rosalind tells the story of her appeal against her daughter's Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/the-day-i-made-an-appeal-a-parent-blog/Victory for families campaigning to save local short breaks service Campaigning families in Hertfordshire are celebrating as their local short breaks (respite) service has been saved from closure. The local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) reversed its decision to cease funding. Whilst good news, the threat of closure caused families unnecessary worry. Sign our letter calling on the Government to review the funding and availability of short breaks services so that disputes like this don't arise in the first place. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/victory-for-families-campaigning-to-save-local-short-breaks-service/Get your disabled child vaccinated against the flu virus this winterDid you know that the flu vaccination is available to children with long-term health conditions and many who have a learning disability?http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/get-your-disabled-child-vaccinated-against-the-flu-virus-this-winter/Families with disabled children experience lengthy delays with Universal Credit payments leading to rent arrearsContact’s helpline is hearing from families with disabled children who are experiencing lengthy delays in getting Universal Credit payments leaving them in financial hardship and leading to rent arrears.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/families-with-disabled-children-experience-lengthy-delays-with-universal-credit-paym/George takes on the half marathon challenge - could you?This 15th October, our fantastic supporter George McGovern will be dusting off his running shoes to take part in the Birmingham Half Marathon to help us continue supporting thousands of families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/george-takes-on-the-half-marathon-challenge-could-you/It's here - our new "Helpful guide for families with disabled children"We're now excited to officially launch "The helpful guide for families with disabled children", our comprehensive companion for all parents about the many ways we can support you.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/its-here-our-new-helpful-guide-for-families-with-disabled-children/Congratulations to our super supporter Alex! Feeling inspired?On Sunday 17 September, 19 year old Alex Archer took part in the Bristol Half Marathon and raised money for Contact. So far she’s raised over £700!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/congratulations-to-our-super-supporter-alex!-feeling-inspired/Universal Credit rolls out to more new areas from todayDespite widespread recent calls for the roll-out of universal credit to be suspended, today sees the universal credit full service extended to several new areas.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/universal-credit-rolls-out-to-more-new-areas-from-today/A night at the zoo!This summer over 100 of our families joined Contact staff and volunteers at Edinburgh zoo for a unique free magical evening of fun and entertainment. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/a-night-at-the-zoo!/Contact CEO talks to BBC about 149% rise in reported hate crimes against childrenContact CEO and Disabled Children's Partnership Chair Amanda Batten yesterday appeared on BBC 5 Radio Live investigates to discuss the alarming rise in reported disability hate crime against children aged 16 and under.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-ceo-talks-to-bbc-about-149-rise-in-reported-hate-crimes-against-children/Government reveals plans to lower energy billsThe government has published the Draft Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariffs Cap) Bill which will give energy regulator Ofgem the power to cap standard variable tariffs.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/government-reveals-plans-to-lower-energy-bills/Parent views included in SEN reforms inspection report published todayAn Ofsted report into the progress of local authorities in England implementing the SEN reforms, has been published today. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/parent-views-included-in-sen-reforms-inspection-report-published-today/Transport for young people over 16 in EnglandWe have therefore produced new information about school transport for young people over 16 in England to explain your rights.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/transport-for-young-people-over-16-in-england/How our helpline is helping parents challenge school transport policiesWe have put together new information on our website on how parents and local groups can challenge local transport policies and consultations. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/how-our-helpline-is-helping-parents-challenge-school-transport-policies/Support for bereaved parents as MPs debate issueMPs will today debate the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill to introduce a two week statutory leave entitlement for parents who are bereaved of a child from birth to 18. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/support-for-bereaved-parents-as-mps-debate-issue/Parliament meets for emergency Universal Credit debate todayFollowing a non-binding vote last week to halt the rollout, speaker John Bercow has granted shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams a debate on what the government intends to do next.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/parliament-meets-for-emergency-universal-credit-debate-today-(1)/Contact supports national sleep manifestoYesterday, Monday 25 October, our head of campaigns attended the launch of the Children's Sleep Charity Manifesto. We support the three key points set out in the manifesto.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-supports-national-sleep-manifesto/Spin your wheels and pull on your wellies for Contact next February!Wrap up warm, pack your umbrella and get ready to splash around Gateshead’s Saltwell Park on Sunday 25 February for Contact, the charity for families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/spin-your-wheels-and-pull-on-your-wellies-for-contact-next-february!/An update on changes to special education in WalesBack in February we told you that the Welsh government is planning a new system of support for children with additional needs in education. Until the law changes, the current system of support for children with SEN will remain in force.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/an-update-on-changes-to-special-education-in-wales/Changes to Personal Independence Payment guidance will allow more people to get PIPNew guidance has just been issued that will make it easier for disabled adults with conditions such as epilepsy to qualify for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/changes-to-personal-independence-payment-guidance-will-allow-more-people-to-get-pip/Good intentions, Good Enough? - Report into residential schools publishedA review of residential schools published this week has stressed the importance of disabled children being able to access education in their local community, and recommended steps to ensure that happens.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/good-intentions-good-enough-report-into-residential-schools-published/30 November is the date to remember for Spring childcareIf you qualify for 30 hours' free childcare, make sure you apply as soon as possible - ideally before 30 November - so that you have your code in time for the start of the Spring term in January.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/30-november-is-the-date-to-remember-for-spring-childcare/Are you looking for your child's first primary school place?It's around two months until the primary school application deadline on 15 January. And this month, many parents will start attending open days in search of a primary school place for their child. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/are-you-looking-for-your-childs-first-primary-school-place/Contact's Support Group Affiliation Scheme is here!Are you a member of a parent support group? Are you trying to get a new support group off the ground? Join our new Support Group Affiliation Scheme today for all the advice, support and information you need to thrive.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contacts-support-group-affiliation-scheme-is-here!/All Different, All Equal: we're celebrating Anti-Bullying WeekThis week, Monday 13 - Friday 17, we're joining our partners the Anti-Bullying Alliance to shine a spotlight on bullying in the annual Anti-Bullying Week.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/all-different-all-equal-were-celebrating-anti-bullying-week/Ask your MP to attend the Secret Life of Us Parliamentary Launch!Health and social care for disabled children is in crisis, with only one in 10 parents saying they believe health and social care meets their disabled child's needs.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/ask-your-mp-to-attend-the-secret-life-of-us-parliamentary-launch!/Contact comments on announced Nascot Lawn funding lossNascot Lawn, the respite centre providing short breaks for children with complex health needs and learning disabilities, will cease being funded by the CCG, it was announced today. It is set to close in May 2018.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-comments-on-announced-nascot-lawn-funding-loss/My child has got used to the exclusion we live with - a parent blog In this parent blog, Sarah talks about her family's experience of isolation at the school gates.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/my-child-has-got-used-to-the-existence-we-live-with-a-parent-blog/Disability Living Allowance eligibility - the top myths busted!Today we’re going to bust some of the myths surrounding DLA. Our Counting the Costs campaign found that it is not a lack of awareness preventing families claiming DLA when they should be. Instead, there is a lot of confusion about who is entitled.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/disability-living-allowance-eligibility-the-top-myths-busted!/75,000 ESA claimants underpaid benefit due to Department for Work and Pensions errorsAccording to BBC reports, around 75,000 adults who were moved from Incapacity Benefit to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) between 2011 and 2015 were paid the wrong amount of benefit. It is believed that up to £500 million was underpaid to ESA claimants.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/75000-esa-claimants-underpaid-benefit-due-to-department-for-work-and-pensions-errors/Chancellor announces measures to ease Universal Credit hardshipIn yesterday’s budget, the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a number of changes to Universal Credit. These address some of the problems currently being caused by lengthy delays before payments start. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/chancellor-announces-measures-to-ease-universal-credit-hardship/Inquiry into support for carersA group of cross party MPs called the Work and Pensions Committee has launched an Inquiry on employment support for carers - submit your views.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/inquiry-into-support-for-carers/A huge thank you to our brilliant Great North Runners!Team Contact had a fantastic group of five runners at this year’s Great North Run helping us raise over £2,400 to continue our work supporting families with disabled children. Big congratulations everyone!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/a-huge-thank-you-to-our-brilliant-great-north-runners!/A quarter of UK parents of disabled children provide 100 hours of care a week - new research launched today 24 percent of UK parents of disabled children provide an unimaginable 100 plus hours of care every week. These are the findings of our Caring More Than Most report [PDF] (download the executive summary [PDF]), launched today, offering the most up-to-date and comprehensive profile of the half a million households who have a disabled child in the UK.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/a-quarter-of-uk-parents-of-disabled-children-provide-100-hours-of-care-a-week-new-research-launched-today/Department for Education announces £45m funding for young people with SENThe Department for Education has announced two years of funding for parent carer forums across England.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/department-for-education-announces-23-million-funding-for-parent-carer-forums/Disabled Children's Partnership launches five step plan in parliamentGuess what? Right now in parliament, families are telling MPs about the next phase of our Secret Life of Us campaign. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/disabled-childrens-partnership-launches-five-step-plan-in-parliament/Take part in your SEND local area inspectionOver a five year period, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are carrying out 152 local area inspections. Inspections began in May 2016 and offer a chance for chance for parents and professionals to give feedback on special education in the area.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/take-part-in-your-send-local-area-inspection/Parent carers more likely to say care they provide affects their healthParent carers are more likely than other carers to say that the care they provide has affected their health. Nearly a third (31%) say it has made them depressed.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/parent-carers-more-likely-to-say-care-they-provide-affects-their-health/Universal Credit helpline now a freephone number as rollout continuesFollowing widespread criticism of the costs faced by claimants using the Universal Credit helpline, the Department of Work and Pensions finally introduced a new freephone number last week covering England, Wales and Scotland.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/universal-credit-helpline-now-a-freephone-number-as-rollout-continues/Caring More Than Most - sign our petition calling for end to cutsThis week we launched our Caring More Than Most report. We want to see an end to funding cuts and reductions to already inadequate health and social care services - cuts that mean too often parents with disabled children are left caring more than most.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/caring-more-than-most-sign-our-petition-calling-for-end-to-cuts/Are you looking for a challenge in the New Year?Next April will see thousands of runners take on the streets of London once again to take part in the Virgin London Marathon. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/are-you-looking-for-a-challenge-in-the-new-year/Contact announces new chair of trusteesWe are delighted to announce that we have appointed Chris Carr as our new chair of trustees.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-announces-new-chair-of-trustees/Legal challenge to Personal Independence Payment reaches the High Court This week the High Court will decide whether controversial changes to the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) rules made earlier this year are discriminatory.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/legal-challenge-to-personal-independence-payment-reaches-the-high-court/Your views wanted on children and young people's mental health provisionThe government has launched a green paper on proposals to provide access to children and young people's mental health support in schools and colleges.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/your-views-wanted-on-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-provision/Nine myths busted about special educational needs in EnglandThe SEN (special educational needs) Information Group - of which we are a member - has address some of the most common myths around the Education, Health and Care plans process.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/nine-myths-busted-about-special-educational-needs-in-england/Planning to post Christmas cards this year?If you're planning to post Christmas cards this year and fear you've left it too late why not save time, worry and postage by sending e-cards and support Contact at the same time?http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/planning-to-post-christmas-cards-this-year/A year on the campaign trail with Contact's head of policyIn our latest blog post, our head of policy, Una Summerson, outlines how this year we have helped families to take action for each other.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/a-year-on-the-campaign-trail-with-contacts-head-of-policy/Helpline opening hours over ChristmasOur helpline will be closed from 5pm on Friday 22 December and then will re-open on 2 January at the usual time of 9:30am - 5pm.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/helpline-opening-hours-over-christmas/Looking back on a year of change for ContactThanks to all the families and friends who supported us in 2017, we made great strides towards achieving our goal of reaching more families and reaching them sooner. We want to wish a very happy new year to you all, as we look back on our highlights over the last 12 months.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/looking-back-on-a-year-of-change-for-contact/Lewisham families enjoy festive pantomime thanks to close shave fundraiser100 parents, carers and children from Lewisham were treated to a festive theatre trip to see Cinderella after sibling Joshua James shaved his head to raise money for Contact.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/lewisham-families-enjoy-festive-pantomime-thanks-to-close-shave-fundraiser/High Court says PIP rule changes are unlawfulThe High Court has found that controversial changes to the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) rules made earlier this year were unlawful and discriminate against people with mental health issues.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/high-court-says-pip-rule-changes-are-unlawful/Deadline for primary school applications approaching soonNext Monday 15 January is the deadline for families in England applying for primary school places. We've published new information to help you navigate the process of finding a school that's right for your child.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/deadline-for-primary-school-applications-approaching-soon/Contact and Disabled Children's Partnership respond to care centre closures recommendationFollowing a consultation on the proposal to close two overnight respite care centres for disabled children, Hampshire councillors are primed to vote in favour of closing Merrydale in Winchester and Sunbeams in Aldershot.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-and-disabled-childrens-partnership-respond-to-care-centre-closures-recommendation/No Education, Health or Care plan yet? What can you do?Some local authorities are on target for meeting the transfer review deadline, but many are not, and parents will naturally be anxious about what happens next. Contact's SEN team have some tipshttp://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/no-education-health-or-care-plan-yet-what-can-you-do/Contact Outdoors gets off to a flying startContact Outdoors - our exciting forest schools programme - got off to a flying start in Wales when eight families enjoyed the first session and gave tremendous feedback.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-outdoors-gets-off-to-a-flying-start/Nascot Lawn families granted judicial reviewFamilies have been granted permission to challenge the decision to close the Nascot Lawn respite care centre in the High Court.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/nascot-lawn-families-granted-judicial-review/Government not to challenge High Court decision on PIP mobility rulesThe government has announced that it will not be appealing the High Court’s recent decision that the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) mobility rules discriminate against people with mental health problems and conditions such as autism.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/government-not-to-challenge-high-court-decision-on-pip-mobility-rules/Whitley bay mum and son dig out their wheels & wellies to help other families in the regionLorraine Whitney and son Daniel from Whitley Bay are taking part in a sponsored Wheels & Wellies walk in Gateshead's Saltwell Park to help other families with disabled children in the North East.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/whitley-bay-mum-and-son-dig-out-their-wheels-wellies-to-help-other-families-in-the-region/Contact looking for families with experience of Universal Credit roll outOver the next two months we'll be focusing on Universal Credit and the impact of its roll out on families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-looking-for-families-with-experience-of-universal-credit-roll-out/Have your say on changes to the Blue Badge scheme The government has announced a consultation on changes to the Blue Badge scheme in England. The changes will make it easier for people with conditions such as learning disabilities or autistic spectrum disorders to qualify for a badge.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/have-your-say-on-changes-to-the-blue-badge-scheme/Latest guides and information from ContactWe know that families can struggle financially, so our new guide to Money Matters [PDF] outlines all the financial help you may be entitled to, all in one place.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/latest-guides-and-information-from-contact/A new education law for children in Wales Last week, on 24 January, the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill became an Act of Parliament. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/a-new-education-law-for-children-in-wales/More North East families with disabled children in hospital benefit from vital support serviceWe have recently expanded our Hospitals project in the region to support parents at the Sunderland Royal Hospital as well as the Great North Children's Hospital.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/more-north-east-families-with-disabled-children-in-hospital-benefit-from-vital-support-service/Rare disease implementation plans for England publishedThe Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England have published their implementation plans for the UK Strategy for Rare Diseases. England is now in line with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who already have plans in place.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/rare-disease-implementation-plans-for-england-published/Government to review 1.6 million Personal Independence Payment claimsFollowing the recent High Court decision which found that changes to the Personal Independence Payment mobility rules were discriminatory, the government has announced that it will now review 1.6 million Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claims.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/government-to-review-16-million-personal-independence-payment-claims/Need help with your child’s behaviour?You are not alone. There are many reasons disabled children exhibit behaviour that challenges, and there are often complex reasons behind a child's behaviour - it is rarely anyone's 'fault'. Parents can feel under a lot of pressure to solve behaviour problems, and are naturally very worried about the best approach to take.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/need-help-with-your-childs-behaviour/Listen to our new podcast on changes to support with mortgage interest In April, the government is scrapping the current system of benefit payments towards mortgage interest and replacing it with a new system of loans.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/listen-to-our-new-podcast-on-changes-to-support-with-mortgage-interest/Contact supports families challenging respite care closure in the High CourtContact and the Disabled Children's Partnership today turned out to support families at the High Court, who are challenging the closure of a vital respite centre in Hertfordshire.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-supports-families-challenging-respite-care-closure-in-the-high-court/Parent carer to give evidence in parliament on support for carersNikki, a parent carer, will be giving evidence today at the work and pensions select committee on their inquiry into support for carers.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/parent-carer-to-give-evidence-in-parliament-on-support-for-carers/Universal Credit extended and new Northern Ireland timetableThe Department for Communities has announced a new timetable for the roll out of Universal Credit in Northern Ireland. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/universal-credit-extended-and-new-northern-ireland-timetable/Contact calls for mental health support for disabled children in Children's Mental Health WeekThis week, 5-11 February 2018, is Children's Mental Health Week, which aims to support children and young people's mental health and emotional wellbeing.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-calls-for-mental-health-support-for-disabled-children-in-childrens-mental-health-week/Birth to five workshops continue - book your place now!We're running a series of free, welcoming and informative workshops over the next few months for local parents of children aged 0-5 with additional needs.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/birth-to-five-workshops-continue-book-your-place-now!/Council tax bills are set to rise - make sure you are not missing out on help95 per cent of councils in England are expected to increase council tax bills this April, with some of biggest councils considering a 6 per cent increase.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/council-tax-bills-are-set-to-rise-make-sure-you-are-not-missing-out-on-help/Helping your child sleep guide gets a new updateOur guide Helping your child sleep has been written by experts in the field, together with parents.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/helping-your-child-sleep-guide-gets-a-new-update/It's nearly time for our Wheels & Wellies walk!With little under a week to go until our Wheels and Wellies Walk, the weather forecast looking promising, our wellies decorated and goodie bags packed, we are all getting very excited about the big day!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/wheels-and-wellies-walk-is-nearly-here!/High Court victory for Nascot Lawn respite care families Families who use Nascot Lawn respite care centre in Herts are celebrating today as a High Court judge rules that plans to withdraw funding to the centre is unlawful.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/victory-for-nascot-lawn-respite-care-centre-families!/Join our free webinar on challenging local cutsNext Thursday 1 March we're hosting a webinar on using the law to challenge cuts.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/join-our-free-webinar-on-challenging-local-cuts/Find out if you're entitled to cold weather paymentsWith the UK braced for a period of cold weather this week, our Helpline has had calls from parents wanting to know if they will qualify for cold weather payments from the Department for Work and Pensions.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/find-out-if-youre-entitled-to-cold-weather-payments/Get involved in Rare Disease Day 2018Today is Rare Disease Day 2018, the international event held each year on the last day of February. The main objective of Rare Disease Day is to raise awareness amongst the general public and decision-makers about rare diseases and their impact on patients' lives.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/get-involved-in-rare-disease-day-2018/North East families with disabled children pull on their wellies for our first ever sponsored walkLast weekend, Saturday 24 February, some very determined disabled children and their parents took part in our first ever Wheels & Wellies fundraising walk.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/north-east-families-with-disabled-children-pull-on-their-wellies-for-our-first-ever-sponsored-walk/School Transport Highlighted on BBC You may have seen our head of campaigns, Una Summerson, on BBC Breakfast and News 24 on Saturday talking about the staggering increase in calls to our helpline from parent carers concerned about school transport.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/school-transport-highlighted-on-bbc-(1)/Using the law to challenge cuts to services: Webinar now on YoutubeLast week we hosted a successful webinar about using the law to challenge cuts with Alex Rook and Steve Broach, two specialist public lawyers. A recording of the webinar that looks at how the law can be used to influence cuts to local authority services is now available on Youtube. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/using-the-law-to-challenge-cuts-to-services-webinar-now-on-youtube/Rate your helpline experience and help us reach more familiesIf you've used our free helpline or browsed for advice on our website, we'd like to know how you found your experience.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/rate-your-helpline-experience-and-help-us-reach-more-families/Contact responds to Leicestershire Council’s decision on SEN transportToday Leicestershire County Council approved changes to its special educational needs (SEN) school transport service. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-responds-to-leicestershire-councils-decision-on-sen-transport/Department for Education to review rising numbers of school exclusionsThe education secretary Damian Hinds has announced a government review of exclusions in schools, saying that exclusion rates are too high.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/department-for-education-to-review-rising-numbers-of-school-exclusions/New tribunal powers on health and social care (England)What do tribunals do? The First Tier Tribunal hears appeals from parents and young people about local authority decisions on Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans. Currently, the tribunal can only consider appeals about the educational parts of the EHC plan. The tribunal powers are being extended as part of a two year national trial. This will enable a single route of appeal about the education, health and social care elements of an EHC plan. These powers apply to local authority decisions made from 3rd April 2018 onwards.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/new-tribunal-powers-on-health-and-social-care/Sign our petition to close school transport loopholeAlthough the law says that young people are expected to be in school or training until they are 18, local councils do not have to provide them with free school transport once they turn 16. We are calling on the government to close this loophole for disabled youngsters as they face additional challenges getting to school or college.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/sign-our-petition-to-close-school-transport-loophole/Meet our fantastic London Marathon runners in new blog seriesThe London Marathon is only five weeks away, and we have 11 amazing runners who have been training and fundraising with all their might to represent us at this year's event.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/meet-our-fantastic-london-marathon-runners-in-new-blog-series/Contact’s head of campaigns makes award finalist for school transport campaign!We are delighted to let you know that our head of campaigns, Una Summerson, was announced as a finalist in the Sheila McKechnie Foundation Awards held last night for her work highlighting the challenges many families with disabled face getting their children to and from school each day. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contacts-head-of-campaigns-makes-award-finalist-for-school-transport-campaign!/Education, Health and Care plan deadline approaches - what should you do?Statements of special educational needs have been replaced by Education Health and Care (EHC) plans, with transfers from the old to the new taking place in a phased way. The final deadline in law for this process is 1 April 2018. However, some local authorities will not be able to meet this deadline, and so there will still be some statements in place after 1 April.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/education-health-and-care-plan-deadline-approaches-what-should-you-do/Universal Credit extended to more areas from today From today, Wednesday 28 March, the Universal Credit full service is being extended to the Barking, Acton, Ealing and Palmers Green job centres in London.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/universal-credit-extended-to-more-areas-from-today/More than half of claimants to decline new mortgage interest loanMore than half of claimants say they will decline the offer a new loan towards their mortgage interest costs.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/more-than-half-of-claimants-to-decline-new-mortgage-interest-loan/Increase in Carer’s Allowance earnings limit and extra help for claimants in ScotlandCarer's Allowance is the main benefit for carers. However, if you are a working carer, you cannot receive this benefit if your earnings are more than a set amount. This is known as the 'earnings limit'.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/increase-in-carers-allowance-earnings-limit-and-extra-help-for-claimants-in-scotland/Help us understand where cuts are happening across the countryWe would appreciate you taking five minutes of your time to complete our very short survey so we know what is happening in your local area.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/help-us-understand-where-cuts-are-happening-across-the-country/Contact providing HemiHelp services from this AprilContact is taking over HemiHelp services, and will now support children and young people living with Hemiplegia.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-is-providing-hemihelp-services-from-this-april/http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/sign-up-for-news-and-updates/Dinosaur Day is back!Dinosaur Day is Contact's annual fundraising day, taking place this year on 19 June 2018. Getting involved is simple: hold a fundraising day on or around 19 June to raise funds for Contact.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/dinosaur-day-is-back!/Disabled Children's Partnership delivers short breaks petition to Downing StreetToday parents and members of the Disabled Children's Partnership (DCP) have delivered a petition to Downing Street calling on the government to increase funding for vital short breaks services.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/disabled-childrens-partnership-delivers-short-breaks-petition-to-downing-street/Counting the Costs is back! Help us build a picture of family financesMums, dads and other family members who care for children and young people with additional needs or disabilities: this is your chance to take part in important research about family finances and changes to the benefits system.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/counting-the-costs-is-back!-help-us-build-a-picture-of-family-finances/High court victory for kinship carers in two child limit caseThe High Court has found that the way that the two child limit impacts on some kinship carers is unlawful.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/high-court-victory-for-kinship-carers-in-two-child-limit-case/Congratulations to our fantastic marathon runners!On Sunday 22 April, 11 superstar fundraisers took part in the London Marathon, on what ended up as the warmest London Marathon on record!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/congratulations-to-our-fantastic-marathon-runners!/Today is Undiagnosed Children's Day 2018Today, Friday 27 April, is the fifth annual Undiagnosed Children's Day, an important campaign to raise awareness of undiagnosed genetic conditions.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/today-is-undiagnosed-childrens-day-2018/Tell us about your experience with debt in Counting the Costs 2018We want to hear about families' experience of getting into debt as part of our flagship research about family finances and changes to the benefits system.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/tell-us-about-your-experience-with-debt-in-counting-the-costs-2018/Your vote mattersLocal elections are taking place in some parts of England on Thursday 3 May 2018. In these elections, voters are choosing who represents them on their local council.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/your-vote-matters/Share your views with MPs on SEND and school fundingThe Education Select Committee, which is a group on MPs, have announced a number of inquiries that will be of interest to many families.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/share-your-views-with-mps-on-send-and-school-funding/Enjoy food, music and art with the Contact Collective and raise money for families with disabled childrenThis May the collective are hosting their annual Spring party, and you're invited!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/enjoy-food-music-and-art-with-the-contact-collective-and-raise-money-for-families-with-disabled-children/Good luck Christina!This bank holiday weekend our intrepid fundraiser Christina Comber will be taking on a mammoth challenge by walking 50K at the Isle of Wight Challenge to help us continue supporting thousands of families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/good-luck-christina!/Tell us about your experience with DLA and PIP in Counting the Costs 2018We want to hear about families' experience of DLA and PIP as part of our survey about family finances and changes to the benefits system.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/tell-us-about-your-experience-with-dla-in-counting-the-costs-2018/Major expansion of Universal Credit throughout MayYesterday saw the roll –out of Universal Credit to a further 9 nine jobcentres. These are the latest in a major expansion of the Universal Credit full service during May. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/major-expansion-of-universal-credit-throughout-may/More families forced to challenge cuts through the courtsFamilies fighting Surrey council’s plan to cut more than £20 million from services for disabled children have officially lodged a legal challenge against the decision.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/more-families-forced-to-challenge-cuts-through-the-courts/Families left devastated by news Nascot will close after allHerts Valley Clinical Commissioing Group (CCG) has voted today to close the Nascot Lawn centre for severely disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/families-left-devastated-by-news-nascot-will-close-after-all/Contact to work with Council for Disabled Children to deliver new government initiativeWe're delighted to let you know that from June we will be working in partnership with the Council for Disabled Children, who have been awarded a new contract by the Department for Education (DfE) to help ensure that in every local authority area, children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and their families have access to impartial information, advice and support about the services and support on offer.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-to-work-with-council-for-disabled-children-to-deliver-new-government-initiative/New podcast on claiming Personal Independence Payment at age 16Listen to our new podcast by one of our helpline advisers, Lesley, explaining what happens when a young person who is on Disability Living Allowance turns 16.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/new-podcast-on-claiming-personal-independence-payment-at-age-16/Counting the Costs survey deadline extended http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/counting-the-costs-deadline-extended/Work and Pensions Select Committee publishes report on Carers and Employment InquiryWork & Pensions Select Committee, a group of MPs, have published their report on the Carers and Employment Inquiry.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/work-and-pensions-select-committee-publishes-report-on-carers-and-employment-inquiry/Uncover the hidden cost of rare conditionsOur Counting the Costs survey 2018 - the 10th anniversary of our flagship research project - is building a clearer picture of the state of family finances. And one thing we want to know about is the exact impact of having a child with a rare condition. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/uncover-the-hidden-cost-of-rare-conditions/Contact calls for local councils to protect short breaks fundingAs two councils are deciding on whether to continue funding short breaks centres in their areas, Contact is urging them to prioritise these vital services for families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-calls-for-local-councils-to-protect-short-breaks-funding/Listen to our new podcast on Council Tax discountsListen to our new podcast on council tax discounts, in which one of our helpline advisers, Jill, explains how you might be able to get a discount of up to 50 per cent on your council tax bill if you are caring for a disabled child who is aged 18 or over.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/listen-to-our-new-podcast-on-council-tax-discounts/Government announces further £50m funding to further improve special education facilitiesThe Department for Education (DfE) has announced an extra £50 million for local authorities to help them create more school places and improve their special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provision.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/government-announces-further-50m-funding-to-further-improve-special-education-facilities/In June Universal Credit is rolled out to Leicester, Bradford, Bristol, Perthshire, Scottish Borders, Stoke, Crawley, central London and many other areasDuring June the Universal Credit full service will be rolled out to a further 60 job centres across the UK.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/in-june-universal-credit-is-rolled-out-to-leicester-bradford-bristol-perthshire-scottish-borders-stoke-crawley-central-london-and-many-other-areas/What are your top three extra costs?More than 2,000 parent carers have already completed our Counting the Cost survey. A big thank you for taking the time to fill in the survey. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/what-are-your-top-three-extra-costs/Parents facing school transport cuts deliver petition to No.10Today families affected by changes to school transport delivered our petition to Downing Street, calling on the government to close the loophole in school transport law for disabled youngsters. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/parents-facing-school-transport-cuts-deliver-petition-to-no10/Looking for school transport advice?If you need advice on school transport we've got lot of information for parents with disabled children about school transport and your rights and entitlements. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/need-advice-on-school-transport/Government to change Universal Credit rules to protect disabled adults facing cutsLast week the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions announced a package of changes to Universal Credit. This includes measures to protect disabled adults who are facing cuts in payments when moving onto Universal Credit. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/government-to-change-universal-credit-rules-to-protect-disabled-adults-facing-cuts/Contact comments on government's Carers Action plan in Carers Week 201811-17 June 2018 is Carers Week, an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-comments-on-governments-carers-action-plan-in-carers-week-2018/A heartfelt thank you from helpline caller LynneWe received some lovely feedback on our helpline service recently from mum Lynne. Our parent advisers answer over 12,000 queries a year, so it's great when we hear that we're making a difference. Read Lynne's feedback in our latest blog.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/a-heartfelt-thank-you-from-helpline-caller-lynne/Happy Dinosaur Day 2018!Today, Wednesday 19 June, is Dinosaur Day 2018, Contact's annual fundraising day where we raise awareness and vital funders for all families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/happy-dinosaur-day-2018!/Need help understanding Universal Credit?During June the Universal Credit full service is being rolled out to a further 60 job centres across the UK. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/need-help-understanding-universal-credit/Contact delivers petition to stop Universal Credit cuts to 10 Downing StreetToday we're delivering a petition to Downing Street today calling on the government to stop the cuts to disability payments for children under Universal Credit. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-delivers-petition-to-stop-universal-credit-cuts-to-10-downing-street/Contact responds as yet another council charges for post-16 school transportThis week Oxfordshire County Council decided to press ahead with its proposal to start charging for school transport for students aged 16 and over with special educational needs (SEN).http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-responds-as-yet-another-council-charges-for-post-16-school-transport/Join our team at the Great North Run!The world's largest half marathon is fast approaching, and you can join Team Contact and be part of it. The Great North run will be taking place on 9 September this year and we are only one week away from the deadline to register.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/join-our-team-at-the-great-north-run!/Independent Support service comes to a close this JulyAs Independent Support was always intended to be a time limited resource, supporting the transition from statements to Education, Health and Care plans, the new Information Advice and Support programme will continue to fund IS agencies only until 31 July 2018.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/independent-support-service-comes-to-a-close-this-july/Last chance to take part in Counting the Costs 2018Counting the Costs 2018 is the 10th anniversary of our flagship research. By filling out the survey you will be helping us to raise awareness and campaign for change - particularly as cuts to benefits continue to hit families with disabled children hard.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/last-chance-to-take-part-in-counting-the-costs-2018/Walking with Us - read our BLF report into the needs of families in Wales "Walking with Us" is a scoping exercise that reached 154 adults who care for disabled children across Wales with the aim of giving them a voice that will inform the structure and delivery model of an ambitious three-year project specifically created for the families of disabled children by the families of disabled children. We've published the report, which you can read in English or Welsh.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/walking-with-us-read-our-blf-report-into-the-needs-of-families-in-wales/Herts council announces it won’t refer Nascot Lawn case to Secretary of StateIn May we told you about Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), who voted to close the Nascot Lawn centre for severely disabled children. At the time we called for Herts County Council to refer this situation to the Secretary of State for Health as a matter of urgency - an option open to the council under local authority regulations - but yesterday the council decided that it would not be taking this course of action after all.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/herts-council-announces-it-wont-refer-nascot-lawn-case-to-secretary-of-state/Disabled Children's Partnership welcomes Ludlow Road respite care centre recommendationThe Disabled Children’s Partnership (DCP) – a coalition of 60 disability charities – is pleased that Worcestershire council have listened to parents and recommended that Ludlow Road respite centre in Kidderminster remain open into next year. However this still leaves an uncertain future for families.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/disabled-childrens-partnership-welcomes-ludlow-road-respite-care-centre-recommendation/Contact supporting Coventry family challenging school transport cuts in courtToday we were supporting a Coventry family involved in a legal challenge to stop cuts to school transport for disabled teenagers.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-supporting-coventry-family-challenging-school-transport-cuts-in-court/MPs review the success and failures of the SEND reforms in EnglandThe education select committee, a group of MPs, held an oral evidence session this week linked to their inquiry looking at the system of support for children with special educational needs and disabilities known as the SEND reforms. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/mps-review-the-success-and-failures-of-the-send-reforms-in-england/Secretary of State for Education discusses exclusions from schoolYesterday the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds MP, addressed directors of children's services at a conference in Manchester. In it he acknowledged the budgetary pressure local authorities face despite government investment in the education for children with complex special education needs and disabilities (SEND).http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/secretary-of-state-for-education-discusses-exclusions-from-school/A postcode lottery for children’s social care Last week the All Party Parliamentary Group for Children published a report on children's social care, called Storing Up Trouble.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/a-postcode-lottery-for-childrens-social-care-(1)/£1.5 billion funding gap for disabled children’s services Economic research published today by the Disabled Children's Partnership (DCP) - a coalition of more than 60 charities - shows there is a £1.5 billion funding gap for services needed by disabled children. This funding gap and its consequences will be highlighted on tonight's BBC One Panorama ' Fighting for my child' at 8.30pm.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/15-billion-funding-gap-for-disabled-childrens-services/93% parents of disabled children who don't work say they want to - but lack of childcare and flexibility stops themWorking Families and Unum recently published a joint report investigating parents of disabled and paid work. Last week, a parliamentary roundtable was held to discuss the report and its recommendations, which our campaigns manager Una Summerson attended.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/93-parents-of-disabled-children-who-dont-work-say-they-want-to-but-lack-of-childcare-and-flexibility-stops-them/Excluded pupils being failed by the education system, say MPsToday, Parliament’s Education Committee expressed concerns about the over-exclusion of pupils and at the alarming increase in ‘hidden exclusions' where children are internally isolated, or illegally excluded, in its report: Forgotten children: alternative provision and the scandal of ever increasing exclusions.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/excluded-pupils-being-failed-by-the-education-system-say-mps/Tax Credit renewal deadline is next TuesdayThe deadline for renewing tax credit claims is next Tuesday 31 July 2018. Find out what steps you need to take to make sure your payments don’t stop.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/tax-credit-renewal-deadline-is-next-tuesday/Blue Badge scheme extended to include hidden disabilitiesOver the weekend, the government announced that the Blue Badge scheme in England will be expanded to include people with hidden disabilities, such as autism or mental illnesseshttp://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/blue-badge-scheme-extended-to-include-hidden-disabilities/Sign up to our new range of newslettersDid you know that we have a range of newsletters to keep you up-to-date with all the latest disability news, updates about Contact's work and activities, and opportunities for you to get involved in what we do?http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/sign-up-to-our-new-range-of-newsletters/Fighting for my Child - Panorama - BBC1 Monday night at 8.30Tonight,BBC Panorama will focusing on the lives of families with disabled children. The programme is called 'Fighting for my child'. Please tune in at 8.30pm on BBC1. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/tune-into-bbc-panorama-on-monday-night-(3)/Council school transport policies must not fail disabled young adultsLast week (2 August) the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman called on councils across England to ensure their transport policies properly support disabled young adults.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/council-school-transport-policies-must-not-fail-disabled-young-adults/Need help with your child’s behaviour? You could be part of a new trialContact is supporting a national clinical trial - the first of its kind in the UK - that aims to reduce behaviour that challenges in young children (between 30-59 months) with learning disabilities. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/need-help-with-your-childs-behaviour-have-a-child-under-5/Last call for all the Superheroes out there!It's less than a week to go until the Superhero Triathlon but it's not too late to register. We are sending our last call out to all Superheroes out there who want to take part in this fantastic event and dare to make a difference to thousands of families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/last-call-for-all-the-superheroes-out-there!/New NHS special educational needs quick guides for professionalsNHS England has published new quick guides for health, educational and social care professionals.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/new-nhs-special-educational-needs-quick-guides-for-professionals/Ruling on discriminatory exclusions could affect tens of thousands of childrenA judge has ruled that it is discriminatory for schools to exclude children with special educational needs for aggressive behaviour linked to their condition.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/ruling-on-discriminatory-exclusions-could-affect-tens-of-thousands-of-children/Act now to make sure tax credits payments for your 16-19 year old don’t stopIf you have a 16-19 year old who'll be staying in school or college after the summer holidays, remember to let the Tax Credit Office know by 31 August or you could lose out on tax credits payments. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/act-now-to-make-sure-tax-credits-payments-for-your-16-19-year-old-dont-stop/Disabled children waiting too long for wheelchairs says new reportAn analysis published in the Health Service Journal last week revealed thousands of disabled children are waiting too long for an NHS wheelchair.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/disabled-children-waiting-too-long-for-wheelchairs-says-new-report/Is your child starting a new school? Our parent adviser offers her top tipsWe've put together a new podcast with advice for starting school.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/is-your-child-starting-a-new-school-our-parent-adviser-offers-her-top-tips/Family left waiting for house adaptations for disabled son for three yearsThe family of a severely disabled boy has had to wait three years for the council to provide them with the special adaptations their home needs, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/family-left-waiting-for-house-adaptations-for-disabled-son-for-three-years/Good luck to super cyclist dad Kevin!This coming 8 September, super cyclist dad Kevin will be taking on a huge challenge cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats while raising thousands of pounds for HemiHelp, the hemiplegia charity that became part of Contact this year.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/good-luck-to-super-cyclist-dad-kevin!/Extra help for carers in Scotland starts this month This month will see the first payment of the new Carer’s Allowance supplement to carers in Scotland. This is a lump sum payment of £221 made by the Scottish government to people in Scotland who are on Carer’s Allowance. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/extra-help-for-carers-in-scotland-starts-this-month/Contact’s response to report on lack of SEN funding for schools Today the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) has published a report about funding for children with special educational needs (SEN) in schools. It found that it is getting harder to support children with SEN because of reduced funding.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contacts-response-to-report-on-lack-of-sen-funding-for-schools-(1)/School transport is Number 1 issue on our helplineSchool transport was the top concern of callers to our helpline this August. Here our senior parent adviser, Jill Hardman tells us about some of the calls we’re getting.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/school-transport-is-number-1-issue-on-our-helpline-(1)/New Help to Save scheme launched last weekA new government scheme was launched last week to help working families on tax credits or Universal Credit build up savings.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/new-help-to-save-scheme-launched-last-week/Ask us anything about home to school transport!We’re excited to announce our first Facebook Q&A session this Wednesday 26th September between 1-3pm, when you can ask our education experts any questions you have about school or college transport for your child.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/ask-us-anything-about-home-to-school-transport!/What would you like to see in the budget? The budget will take place later this year. The government hasn’t said what date the Budget will be on yet. There is now an opportunity for members of the public and charities, like Contact, to say how the Chancellor should be spending public money in the Budget.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/what-would-you-like-to-see-in-the-budget/"It's so worthwhile learning about challenging behaviour" - join our coffee morning next weekContact is supporting a national clinical trial - the first of its kind in the UK - that aims to reduce behaviour that challenges in young children between 30-59 months with learning disabilities.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/challenging-behaviour-is-so-isolating-join-our-coffee-morning/Contact families to join Countryfile Ramble with TV legend John Craven and Paralympian Steve BrownThis weekend Contact and some of the families we support in Wales will be taking part in Countryfile’s Ramble for BBC Children in Need.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-families-to-join-countryfile-ramble-with-tv-legend-john-craven-and-paralympian-steve-brown/Further roll out of Universal Credit during OctoberStarting this week Universal Credit is being rolled out to 62 new jobcentres during October.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/further-roll-out-of-universal-credit-during-october/Drum roll please...the London Marathon Ballot results are announced today!The result for the Virgin London Marathon 2019 ballot will be released from today, and thousands of hopefuls will find out over the next couple of weeks if they have been awarded a place. If you haven't been successful, do not despair - Contact has places, low and achievable targets and we would love you to join our team!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/drum-roll-pleasethe-london-marathon-ballot-results-are-announced-today!/Contact families enjoy memorable day on Countryfile’s Ramble for BBC Children in Need On Saturday Contact and some of the families we support in Wales met and walked alongside TV presenters John Craven and Steve Brown as part of Countryfile’s Ramble for BBC Children in Need.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-families-enjoy-memorable-day-on-countryfiles-ramble-for-bbc-children-in-need/Take action on £175 million cut from disabled childrenUniversal Credit in the news again. But why is no-one is talking about the £175 million that will be cut from families with disabled children when it’s fully introduced? We need to change this and stop the cut. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/take-action-on-175-million-cut-from-disabled-children/Free workshops on personal budgets and direct payments in education and social careWe hear from some families who are unaware of their rights, and this can lead to missing out and struggling without support. That's why this Autumn we're running free workshops in the Midlands for parents to learn more about the options available to them and their family.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/free-workshops-on-personal-budgets-and-direct-payments-in-education-and-social-care/Contact's Universal Credit campaign in the newsWe're so pleased that some of you saw our Universal Credit campaign in the Daily Mirror on Saturday. With your help our campaign to stop the £175 million cut to child disability payments under Universal Credit is reaching hundreds of MPs across all political parties. In response MPs are also taking action by raising the matter with the Government Minister.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/universal-credit-in-the-news-(1)/Contact Cymru is running more Forest School events this winter We're happy to say that we've got two more Forest School events coming up for families in Wales.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-blogs/contact-cymru-is-running-more-forest-school-events-this-winter/